I love it when I crack the cover of a new cozy to discover an author has created a heroine I can really root for. Someone irreverent. Someone who’s young and hip, who drinks and swears, who kicks ass and takes names. Someone I’d want as a friend. Author Hannah Reed has created such a heroine in Story Fischer, the protagonist of one of this month’s best new mysteries, Mind Your Own Beeswax.
Story is a woman who doesn’t trot around town asking polite questions of potential suspects, notebook in hand—she gets the town medical examiner drunk so she can pump him for information. She breaks into a suspect’s house through a window to search for clues—not once, but twice. And when local bully/police chief Johnny Jay decides to use Story to rehabilitate his tarnished image by publicly apologizing to her for a recent bit of bad behavior—well, let’s just say she’s less than willing to play accomplice to his farce:
“Story Fischer, I am sorry for any harm or hurt I caused you. Will you accept my sincerest apology right out in front of the whole town?” He grinned at the crowd. “Or do you want me to get down on my knees and beg your forgiveness?”
Someone yelled, “Yes, do it!”
And everybody laughed and thought it was one big joke when he actually got down on the floor and pleaded with his hands clasped together and that stupid grin still on his face. When I looked around the room, I could tell he had them eating out of the palm of his hand.
And he waited, still smiling, but his eyes when they pierced mine weren’t laughing along.
I licked my lips.
“I’ll think about it, Johnny Jay.” I saw him flinch when I called him that, but right now he wasn’t police chief, and I didn’t have to bother with titles and respect. “But I’d like you to start over again from the beginning and let Patti Dwyre preserve your heartfelt apology for eternity.”
He really hated that, almost lost his place in the script, but for the moment I was directing and he went along, doing what I said.
“You can get up now,” I said, after he repeated the performance for Patti, who took her job very seriously. “And I’ll give you an answer after I’ve thought on it long and hard. In the meantime, the next round of drinks is on The Wild Clover and Story Fischer.”
And that was the end of that scene, because buying the whole place a drink beat out just about anything else in the world.
Mind Your Own Beeswax is the second in author Hannah Reed’s Queen Bee Mystery series, released today. My full review can be found in The Season E-Zine’s May mystery section.
Katrina Niidas Holm loves mysteries. She lives in Maine with her husband, fabulously talented pulp writer Chris F. Holm and a noisy, noisy cat. She writes reviews for The Season E-Zine and The Maine Suspect, and you can find her on Twitter.